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Frequently Asked Questions about PPE - Pt. 2

Just when you thought we answered everything, there's more...

What gloves do you recommend for handling lacquer thinner?

Lacquer thinner, which is a popular cleaning agent for many processing facilities, typically contains several key ingredients, as listed below. Although additional ingredients may be present, they will likely fall into these categories.
  • A ketone such as acetone or MEK, which will degrade nitrile, PVC and Viton;
  • An alcohol such as methanol or isopropanol, which will degrade PVA;
  • An aromatic solvent such as toluene or xylene, which will degrade neoprene, PVC, natural rubber and butyl.

Lacquer thinner may require the most highly protective chemical barrier available since the ingredients in this common solvent mixture work together synergistically to degrade the materials in most gloves offered today.

Although laminated film gloves provide superior chemical resistance, they are very thin and may experience cuts or punctures and lack a textured surface for gripping. Depending upon the application, the best solution may be to wear a pair of laminated film gloves as a liner under another style of glove that provides the cut protection and grip required.

Are there gloves available that can help workers maintain a more secure grip?

Gloves are offered that include a textured finish on the fingertips, which is ideal for grasping smaller and lighter objects such as test tubes and glassware. For larger, heavier objects, gloves are available that utilize a unique new technology that creates a roughened surface comprised of microscopic channels in a patented ultra-thin coating that directs fluids away from the grip surface.

Why is a supported nitrile glove tougher and safer to use in an oil refinery application than the inexpensive black PVC gloves?

PVC gloves do not offer much resistance to many of the chemicals used in the refining process. PVC gloves will allow certain aromatic chemicals—like toluene and xylene—to permeate without any major changes in the gloves’ appearance, except some stiffening. Supported nitrile glove products work much better because they offer longer and broader chemical resistance.

Some of our employees have problems with “allergies” to vinyl disposable gloves. What is the cause of these problems?

Allergic reactions to vinyl gloves are almost nonexistent. The problem is often contact urticaria, which is a simple skin irritation caused by perspiration and lack of ventilation inside the glove.

Leakage is another possibility. Although thin vinyl gloves exhibit chemical resistance when tested in the laboratory, reports indicate that when the gloves are donned and worn for about an hour, they will begin to leak. The “allergies,” therefore, may be reactions to the chemicals the workers are handling.

If workers are actually allergic to vinyl gloves, the allergy probably results from the additives in the vinyl formulation. Natural or synthetic (neoprene or nitrile) gloves use entirely different additives. Workers who are allergic only to plastics additives will not react to rubber additives.

You can check out the first part of this series here.

Stay tuned for part 3 of 3 posting soon...

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